Watkins Shaw

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Harold Watkins Shaw, OBE, known as Watkins Shaw (3 April 1911 in Bradford, Yorkshire 8 October 1996 in Worcester) was a British musicologist and educator best known for his critical edition of Handel's Messiah compiled between 1957 and 1965, which version has largely supplanted that of Ebenezer Prout in British performance - The Times obituarist went so far as describe it as being in "universal use", though this is a slight exaggeration.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Bradford city in the City of Bradford, Yorkshire, England

Bradford is a city in West Yorkshire, England, in the foothills of the Pennines, 8.6 miles (14 km) west of Leeds, and 16 miles (26 km) north-west of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897. Following local government reform in 1974, city status was bestowed upon the City of Bradford metropolitan borough.

Yorkshire Historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

Shaw was the only child of schoolteachers in Bradford. He attended Grange Road School, where his father taught geography, and he discovered his love of music from singing in chapel choirs. In 1929 he won the George Calder MacLeod Scholarship to read history at Wadham College, Oxford, graduating in 1932 and winning the Osgood Memorial prize for his dissertation on John Blow, after which he studied at the Royal College of Music for a year. It was here that he was encouraged to combine his loves of history and music.

Oxford City and non-metropolitan district in England

Oxford is a university city in south central England and the county town of Oxfordshire. With a population of approximately 155,000, it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, with one of the fastest growing populations in the UK, and it remains the most ethnically diverse area in Oxfordshire county. The city is 51 miles (82 km) from London, 61 miles (98 km) from Bristol, 59 miles (95 km) from Southampton, 57 miles (92 km) from Birmingham and 24 miles (39 km) from Reading.

John Blow English composer

John Blow was an English Baroque composer and organist, appointed to Westminster Abbey in 1669. His pupils included William Croft, Jeremiah Clarke and Henry Purcell. In 1685 he was named a private musician to James II. His only stage composition, Venus and Adonis, is thought to have influenced Henry Purcell's later opera Dido and Aeneas. In 1687 he became choirmaster at St Paul's Cathedral, where many of his pieces were performed. In 1699 he was appointed to the newly created post of Composer to the Chapel Royal.

Royal College of Music conservatoire established by royal charter in 1882

The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire established by royal charter in 1882, located in South Kensington, London, UK. It offers training from the undergraduate to the doctoral level in all aspects of Western Art including performance, composition, conducting, music theory and history. The RCM also undertakes research, with particular strengths in performance practice and performance science. The college is one of the four conservatories of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a member of Conservatoires UK. Its buildings are directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall on Prince Consort Road, next to Imperial College and among the museums and cultural centres of Albertopolis.

He held a teaching post in London and was music organizer to Hertfordshire County Council for three years from 1946 and a lecturer at Worcester College of Education from 1949 until retirement in 1970.

Hertfordshire County Council British administrative body

Hertfordshire County Council is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Hertfordshire, in England, the United Kingdom. After the elections in 2017, it consists of 78 councillors, and is controlled by the Conservative Party, which has 50 councillors, versus 19 Liberal Democrats and 9 Labour councillors. It is a member of the East of England Local Government Association.

Worcester Cathedral City and non-metropolitan district in England

Worcester is a city in Worcestershire, England, 31 miles (50 km) southwest of Birmingham, 101 miles (163 km) west-northwest of London, 27 miles (43 km) north of Gloucester and 23 miles (37 km) northeast of Hereford. The population is approximately 100,000. The River Severn flanks the western side of the city centre, which is overlooked by Worcester Cathedral.

These positions, while "less than satisfying to his scholarly temperament" at least allowed him sufficient time to pursue his independent work as a musical writer and editor, a work in which he was proud to have supported himself without recourse to grants or bursaries.

In 1948, E. H. Fellowes retired as honorary librarian of Sir Frederick Ouseley’s choral foundation of St. Michael's College, Tenbury. Shaw was his successor and also served as a Governor and Fellow. When the college closed in 1985 Shaw negotiated through Ouseley’s two conflicting wills to ensure that all the manuscripts in this important collection reached the Bodleian Library - including Handel’s conducting score of Messiah, used by the composer for the first performance in Dublin in 1742 - and also influenced the Charity Commissioners to ensure that the endowment now known as the Ouseley Trust should be made available "for the purpose of promoting and maintaining to a high standard the choral services of the Church of England".

Bodleian Library main research library of the University of Oxford

The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom and under Irish Law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as "Bodley" or "the Bod", it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales and maintains the Central Register of Charities.

Shaw was particularly known for his extensive writings on and editing of church music, a field in which he was active for nearly 50 years. Much of his work was published under the auspices of the Church Music Society, of which he was the first honorary general editor (for 14 years from 1956), chairman from 1979 to 1987. He was also closely associated with the Three Choirs Festival, often writing its programmes, and publishing its history in 1954.

Three Choirs Festival

The Three Choirs Festival is a music festival held annually at the end of July, rotating among the cathedrals of the Three Counties and originally featuring their three choirs, which remain central to the week-long programme. The large-scale choral repertoire is now performed by the Festival Chorus, but the festival also features other major ensembles and international soloists. The 2011 festival took place in Worcester from 6 to 13 August. The 2012 festival in Hereford took place earlier than usual, from 21 to 28 July, to avoid clashing with the 2012 Summer Olympics. The event is now established in the last week of July. The 300th anniversary of the original Three Choirs Festival was celebrated during the 2015 festival, which took place from 25 July to 1 August in Hereford.

His interests and publications focused on what is now termed early music, in Shaw's case roughly from Thomas Tallis to Samuel Sebastian Wesley, with major interests being John Blow, Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. He also reconstructed and reinstated preces and responses by William Byrd, Thomas Morley, William Smith and Thomas Tomkins. His scholarship in these centuries coincided with and helped lay the foundations on which the early music revival of the late 20th Century was built.

Early music music until the baroque

Early music generally comprises Medieval music (500–1400) and Renaissance music (1400–1600), but can also include Baroque music (1600–1760). Early music is a broad musical era in the history of Western art music.

Thomas Tallis English composer

Thomas Tallis was an English composer who occupies a primary place in anthologies of English choral music and is considered one of England's greatest composers. He is honoured for his original voice in English musicianship. No contemporaneous portrait of Tallis survives; the one painted by Gerard Vandergucht (illustration) dates from 150 years after Tallis died, and there is no reason to suppose that it is a likeness. In a rare existing copy of his blackletter signature, the composer spelled his last name "Tallys".

Samuel Sebastian Wesley English organist and composer

Samuel Sebastian Wesley was an English organist and composer. Wesley married Mary Anne Merewether and had 6 children.

Honours included a DLitt awarded in 1967 by the faculty of music at Oxford University and the OBE awarded in 1990 for services to music.

Published works included:

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